iPhone apps to decide celebrity Christmas cookbook battle
WITH new recipes from Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein and Lorraine Pascale, the battle of the Christmas cookery books is set to be a fierce contest between some of the top chefs.
But this year, they will face tough competition from a new contender in the festive market - the growing number of cookery apps for Apple iPhones and other smartphones.
This Christmas, the most popular celebrity chef may be decided on a touchscreen, rather than on the kitchen shelves, as thousands turn to digital recipes instead of books.
Pioneered by Jamie Oliver, who launched his iPhone app in 2009, there are now hundreds of cookery apps from some of Britain's best loved chefs.
From Nigella's Quick collection app to Jamie's 20 Minute Meals and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fish Fight, the smartphone is quickly earning its place in the kitchen.
And, at a price of up to £4.99 for a single app, the market for digital recipes is rapidly growing as consumers flock to download the latest version from their favourite celebrity chef.
The Primrose Bakery app, launched just last week, has amassed thousands of international downloads and currently tops the charts in Britain, Australia and Canada.
The luxury bakery app, which offers 20 cake recipes, comes with a special "tilt function" for awkward worktop angles, as well as a new touch-free feature to avoid getting sticky fingers on the screen.
Homebakers and amateur cooks are said to prefer the user-friendly nature of an app, which often includes videos and step-by-step instructions with visual aids to help chefs learn as they go.
As the use of smartphones, tablets and mobile technology grows, the apps are likely to be come even more popular among time-short cooks.
However, experts doubt that celebrity chefs' cookery apps will ever overtake traditional cookbooks in the Christmas contest.
"A cooking app is a brilliant thing, until you have to turn the page with hands caked in dough," food writer Jay Rayner told the Observer.
"A stained cookery book page is a mark of commitment; a stained smarkphone is a trip back to the shop."